Do Supervisors Know What They Are Buying?
Toxins on the San Geronimo Golf Course


Do Supervisors Know What They Are Buying?
Toxins on the San Geronimo Golf Course

This is a public letter written by the San Geronimo Valley Stewards Support Team. We have sent a detailed letter with documentation to the Marin Board of Supervisors and the Trust for Public Land on December 21st. We also sent this letter to local newspapers on December 28th. Please forward this to your family, friends and neighbors who live in Marin County.

Do Supervisors Know What They Are Buying?

Toxics on the SG Golf Course

Do Marin County Supervisors know what they are buying with our tax dollars? Will Marin county pay an inflated price to purchase a golf course with potentially toxic materials? Will Marin taxpayers foot the bill to clean up hazardous waste and to protect Native American artifacts?

    1. In the rush to buy the San Geronimo Golf Course for $8.85 million from Trust for Public Land, neither the County nor TPL have disclosed any physical inspection or research of the property condition. Has Marin County obtained from TPL soil samples, groundwater tests, or geo-technical analysis? Marin County's duty is to protect the public from potential environmental hazards and expenses.

      1. There is a large underground garbage pit, excavated in the 1960's, containing farm implements, paint cans, cans of oil, tires, metal bed springs, and other items from the old ranch. For decades after the garbage was buried, no vegetation grew over the pit.
    2. 2. Cinnabar deposits were excavated near the Back 9 and used to construct earthworks on the golf course in the 1960's. Cinnabar (mercuric sulfide) is the source of mercury, which is toxic to humans, plants and animals.
    3. 3. Gold mining occurred near the Back 9 in the 1870's. Separating gold from other minerals results in arsenopyrite waste, left in the soil or released into creeks.
    4. 4. Chromite and mariposite was excavated at the Thornton mine in the 1870's and in the 1960's when Nicasio Valley Road was re-graded. See
    5. 5. The Golf Course planted many Pinus sabiniana trees (also known as ghost pines or California foothill pines). They burn intensely and transmit fire rapidly. They should be removed immediately.
    6. 6. California Water Resource Board Geo-Tracker describes an underground contaminant leak that has never been remediated. See:
    7. 7. The Golf Course shelters artifacts of early Native Americans (possibly Miwok encampments). Local residents have found spear points, arrowheads, bowls, grinding stones, and rock carvings. Archeological investigation is required to determine the locations and extent of artifacts that may remain buried.

San Geronimo Valley Stewards have notified TPL and County Officials about these concerns, and provided evidence of physical conditions on the property. Did TPL's appraisal consider these physical conditions when it valued the property at $8.8 million? We don't know, because County authorities refuse requests to release the TPL appraisal.

What toxics or hazards may have been reported in TPL's Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment? Because the Assessment has not been disclosed, it is not clear what environmental hazards TPL or the County may be responsible for.

CEQA review must be required because of the unusual circumstances of this property: physical conditions, historical mining and development, piecemeal changes in land use described by the County and TPL, and proposed creek restoration projects. When Marin County signed the TPL Purchase and Sale Agreement, the County became obligated to accept title and pay TPL $8.85 million, although escrow closing may be delayed until 2019.

The County should act to protect the public and county taxpayers!

A. Require TPL to pay for outside expert inspections of stream water quality, groundwater pollution, soil contaminants, and hazardous mineral deposits. The County should publicly disclose the inspections.

B. Require TPL to protect the Miwok encampment sites from desecration.

C. Require TPL to indemnify the County for future claims and losses due to the environmental hazards of soil, minerals and groundwater.

D. Hold back a reserve from the $8.85 million purchase price to reimburse future cleanup costs incurred by Marin County or by any government agency that grants public funds for the purchase.

E. Impose restrictions on SPAWN and other agencies who plan creek restoration or other projects, to safeguard against release of toxics or potentially hazardous materials, and to protect Native American artifacts.

When the County takes title to the property, it will be our mess, and our tax dollars will pay for it.


Click on e-mail addresses below to directly send your message of opposition of this deal, and that a
CEQA Review must be required to protect the public and insure that taxpayers dollars aren't in jeopardy of future risks.

Supervisor Denis Rodoni
Supervisor Damon Connolly
Supervisor Judy Arnold
Supervisor Katie Rice
Supervisor Kate Sears
Parks Director Max Korten
Brendan Moriarty